A current aide of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) has accused the New York governor of sexual harassment and misconduct.
Over the last several weeks, multiple women have accused Cuomo of making inappropriate remarks and engaging in disturbing sexual behaviors including making unwelcome advances, including the woman's friend — also a Cuomo aide — who said earlier in March that Cuomo put his hand underneath her blouse and groped her.
The 63-year-old Democrat has denied any wrongdoing.
What are the details?
In a Sunday New York Times report, the aide, Alyssa McGrath, accused Cuomo of "ogling her body, remarking on her looks, and making suggestive comments to her and another woman in his office."
The Times reported that Cuomo called McGrath and a female co-worker "mingle mamas" and inquired about her "lack of a wedding ring" and the status of her divorce.
"She recalled him telling her she was beautiful — in Italian — and, as she sat alone with him in his office awaiting dictation, he gazed down her shirt and commented on a necklace hanging there," the outlet noted.
McGrath, a 33-year-old woman who has been working for the Cuomo administration since 2018, said that during one encounter, she was summoned to Cuomo's office for dictation.
"I put my head down waiting for him to start speaking, and he didn't start speaking," she said. "So I looked up to see what was going on. And he was blatantly looking down my shirt."
She said that Cuomo then asked her, "What's on your necklace?"
The necklace, McGrath said, was in her shirt.
"He has a way of making you feel very comfortable around him, almost like you're his friend," she recalled. "But then you walk away from your encounter or conversation, in your head going, 'I can't believe I just had that interaction with the governor of New York.'"
McGrath said of the continued flow of women making accusations against the governor, "It makes me really upset to hear him speak about this and completely deny all allegations. And I have no doubt in my mind that all of these accusers are telling the truth."
In a statement, Cuomo's lawyer, Rita Glavin, responded to McGrath's allegations by saying that he never made "inappropriate advances or inappropriately touched anyone."
"The governor has greeted men and women with hugs and a kiss on the cheek, forehead, or hand," Glavin said. "Yes, he has posed for photographs with his arm around them. Yes, he uses Italian phrases like 'Ciao bella.' None of this is remarkable, although it may be old-fashioned. He has made clear that he has never made inappropriate advances or inappropriately touched anyone."
The Times reported that Cuomo has "asked New Yorkers to await the outcome of two investigations into the multiple allegations of sexual harassment against him before passing judgment."
McGrath said that during a 2019 Christmas party, Cuomo "kissed [her] on the forehead."
"And in the picture we posed with him that year, he is gripping our sides very tightly," she recalled.
McGrath has continued to go to work amid the burgeoning number of allegations against the Democratic lawmaker.
"She says that executive offices are largely quiet, far from the heady days of Mr. Cuomo's pandemic-related popularity, when the halls of the Capitol buzzed with excitement and purpose," the Times noted.
Earlier in March, a Cuomo aide said that he reached underneath her blouse and groped her chest while the two were alone in the executive mansion.
McGrath said that the woman — her co-worker, who has not been publicly identified at the time of this reporting — "froze" when the alleged interaction took place.
"She froze when he started doing that stuff to her," she said. "But who are you going to tell?"
McGrath said that the co-worker told her that Cuomo directed her not to talk to McGrath — with whom she shares a friendly relationship — about the alleged incident.
"He told her specifically not to tell me," she said.
The Times noted, "Over the last three years, Ms. McGrath said, the governor had seemingly fostered an unusual work triangle with her and her friend, the co-worker he allegedly groped, blending a professional relationship with unwanted attention. There was paternalistic patter, but also a commandeering, sometimes invasive physicality."
In a statement, Mariann Wang, an attorney for McGrath, told the Times, "This would be unacceptable behavior from any boss, much less the governor."
"The women in the executive chamber are there to work for the State of New York," Wang added, "not serve as [Cuomo's] eye candy or prospective girlfriend."